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Fly poised to pounce for Mullins after scare

Trainer Willie Mullins revealed yesterday that Hurricane Fly had given him and his team a scare during the week but remains on course to run in tomorrow's BHP Insurance Champion Hurdle.

Hurricane Fly headed yesterday morning's declarations for the January Jumps Weekend at Leopardstown as he lines up alongside Jezki, Our Conor and Captain Cee Bee in tomorrow's feature, but the champion trainer said yesterday that the 18-time Grade One winner had worked poorly due to a bruised foot during the week.

In a piece of work at Mullins' Closutton base last week Hurricane Fly reportedly worked below expectations and was later discovered to be lame when taken out for a walk.

Mullins immediately got his farrier to remove a shoe and poultice the foot overnight and he described Hurricane Fly as "fine" the following morning. He hopes "what happened won't have a detrimental effect on his chance of winning the race."

HORIZON

At this stage in his career and with Cheltenham on the horizon, there is little doubt that connections would not risk the 10-year-old unless they were sure he would put up a bold showing in the race.

Jezki and Our Conor will get another opportunity to take on the record breaker and although just the four go to post for the race, the elite three at the top of the market are three of the biggest Champion Hurdle contenders for Cheltenham.

Hurricane Fly is the odds-on favourite after stamping his authority over his two younger rivals in the Ryanair Hurdle at Christmas and he can be expected to do the same back at his favourite track tomorrow afternoon.

That defeat by Solwhit in the Morgiana Hurdle of 2009 was his last on Irish soil and his record on these shores reads 19 from 20, while his record for Mullins is 20 from 23 – 18 of those wins being at Grade One level.

Jezki has two and a half lengths to find on their last run and may well close that gap, while Our Conor may also close the five-and-three-quarter length margin.

But with the improvement that Willie Mullins predicted immediately after the last Leopardstown meeting, whatever Jezki and Our Conor do might still not be good enough.

Boylesports Bet

Hurricane Fly 1/2, Jezki 7/2, Our Conor 4/1, Captain Cee Bee 66/1.


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